Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,981 Ratings
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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Foghorn® is brewed based on historic English barleywine methods. It is highly hopped, fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast, carbonated by a natural process called "bunging" to produce champagne-like bubbles, and dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars. Made only from “first wort,” the rich first runnings of an all-malt mash, three mashes are required to produce just one barleywine brew.

ABV varies slightly over the years.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Ratings: 1,981 |  Reviews: 1,064
Photo of biker30x
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint rather than a tulip or other appropriate glass. Honey brown with a thin head that vanished immediately. Smell of rasins, plum and alcohol. Mouthfeel is soft at first with a following of alcohol tang over a plesant carbonation. Taste is of plum, fig, rasins and Christmas fruitcake. A malty sweetness pulls it all together. A warm and satisfying finish of alcohol makes the day after the day after Christmas melt into a warm and glowing end. Very nice.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this brew at Spike's Pub in San Luis Obispo.

A: looked cloudy in the Duvel glass but that was mostly the condensation on the glass. When I wiped it away it was very clear and chesnut in color

S: it was sweet and rasin smelling. Little to no hop aroma.

T: the taste was a big surprise for me since the last time I had a barley wine I was not ready for the big flavor the style packs. This time around I truly enjoyed the full sweet alcohol flavors. There was so much going on and my still novice palate had a hard time separating the individual flavors. None the less, a very tasty brew.

M: this is definitely a bit syrupy compared to many beers but for the style it is appropriately viscous. There is light carbonation that lingers. I have been enjoying this glass for 30 minutes and the carbonation still pleasurably stings my tongue.

D: I have a feeling that this barleywine is quite drinkable for the style. At only a little above 8% ABV it is on the lighter side of the style but maybe it is a good barleywine to start with if you are new to the style. It was for me.

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Photo of beersabound
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been enjoying this six pack nicely dispersed over the holiday weekend. Some earthy hops emerge first, quickly followed by a bit of ripe banana, silky smooth caramel malts and some alcohol giggling in the background. It pours a rich brown hue with orange corners and a tight tan head. The flavor is well balanced with high hop bitterness and a citrus hop flavor but a sweet malt side wins out in this tug of war. The mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and seductive. No rough edges on its way down. This makes for a very easy to drink barleywine. I tend to look over this one; but I will not anymore. It's not the most balls out with flavor barleywine but is definitely a very well crafted one.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A finger of darker tan head and an amazing amber color. Light lacing.

Smell: There is a slight alcoholic note and some toffee and darker kind of aroma. Some dark fruits hiding in the background and a bit of sweetness that rounds out the smell without making it smell sweet. If an aroma can be balanced, this one is.

Taste: Sweetness hits you immediatly followed a complexity of the dark fruits from the nose and toffee notes, but with a certain bready meatyness. The need is rather alcoholic with a nice warming sensation, but it works. There was a tiny bit of citrus in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: It was huge and chewy. The carbonation was perfect and this was a massivly great sipper.

Drinkability: There are few beers that I would like to have warm me around the Christmas season more so than this one. This beer comes at the tail end of a wonderful time with a six pack during a week that included over a foot of snow fall on a weekend trapping me inside. Definitely a sipper but really enjoyable.

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Photo of redsonja
5/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

good barley wine style from the u.s. dark color
sweet alcoholic taste you can taste the alchohol
one of the first u.s. brewers that was avalible in holland and still is one of the good us brewerys.
color: copper
noise: butterscotch/alc. sweet
taste: alc. sweet like serup
good beer for the winter that i like a lot

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Photo of drtth
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is clear, deep dark reddish brown color with a ½" light tan head that soon recedes to a small ring and a thin layer on the surface. Sipping leaves some foam sticking to the side of the glass and a pattern of speckled lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains sweet dark caramel, a touch of dark fruits (plums?), and some citric hops along with traces of alcohol in the background.

Taste: The flavor is brown sugar sweet and filled with dark caramel. In the background is some dark fruit (the plum) and providing a nice counterpoint to prevent the sweetness from getting out of hand there is both some citric flavor and hop bitterness. There is not much alcohol in evidence.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with prickly moderate carbonation. The finish is long and begins with the malty sweetness, then changes to some hop bitterness that trails off into dryness.

Drinkability: This one is dangerously drinkable and it would be easy to have too much in an evening. It goes down easily with each sip leaving you wanting another. I'll be glad to have another and will certainly seek this one out in the future.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looking forward to this one, I've been seeking it for a little while. Picked it up at New Beer for $2.90 for a 12 oz bottle. That bottle was poured into my Cape Anne pint glass.

Appearance: Very odd color for a beer. It's a reddish, creamy shade of brown that I'm tempted to call purple. Opaque. There's a fizzy 1 finger head that goes away quickly without much lacing to speak of.

Smell: A big whiff of warm alcohol. Beyond that, there's fruit that I think is plum, caramel, and a bit of vanilla. It's all quite appealing

Taste: Up front is a sweet mix of brown sugar and that plum flavor. A little bit of fruity hops, but not nearly as much as other American barleywines I've had recently.

The first few sips, the finish was an extremely pungent peppery flavor that was difficult to take. I was wondering if I'd even be able to finish the drink, but the taste became far more subdued as the beer warmed. In fact, all of the flavors became better and more blended as it warmed. So definitely don't drink this one straight out of the fridge.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick and chewy, with low carbonation. Compliments the flavors nicely.

Drinkability/Overall: Not the best barleywine I've had, but it's different and it gets the job done. Just let it warm before you tackle it. Trust me.

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Photo of johntangus
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

After a vigorous pour into a duvel tulip glass produced the formation of a light-tan 1-inch head, a white ring was left that created some respectable lacing as the libation was consumed.

A nice smell of molasses, raisins and caramel wafted from the inner flair of the tulip to my fleshy beak.

The malty-sugary-boozy taste slowly faded as i chewed on liquid brown sugar that turned into a warm slightly-boozy finish.

Nicely carbonated with a deliciously substantial mouth.

Very nice. Very nice.

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Photo of Shumista
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was very excited to see this at Whole Foods today because after missing last winter's batch and have been waiting to try it ever since. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my beer mug.

A- Pours a dark copper/amber with a fluffy light tan head.
S- Brown sugar, caramel, wood and some hops. Smells great.
T- Yummy. Brown sugar and caramel malt upfront, bitter finish that lingers in the aftertaste. My first few sips gave an unpleasant metallic finish but fortunately as I have continued through that has gone away.
M- Sticky, warming and pleasant. Great for a cold night.
D- I would drink it all night if not for the high alcohol content.

I've got to say, barleywines that come in 6 packs make me very happy. So many come in bombers and 4 packs that good values like this and Bigfoot are a nice change.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- An agressive pour yielded a 1/2" tan head, which slowly receded to edge lacing. The body was a transluscent aged copper color that showed some rudy-red highlights where light penetrated, and no visible carbonation.

S- Big sweet caramel and pale malt aromas are met with big earthy, grassy (and slightly citrusy) hops in the nose. Smells big and wonderfully balanced.

T- A fantastic replicate from of the nose... big sweet malts are perfectly balanced with big earthy and grassy hops. Some yeast esters come into play just before the finish, which is mildly bitter and somewhat short-lived.

M- A fair medium body fails to deliver the anticipated backbone. There is a bit of unattenuated sugar here, but I wish there was more. Fortunately the abundant and soft carbonation helps elevate this mouthfeel a touch higher than average.

D- Wow. This is drinkable. Dangerously drinkable. I wouldn't guess this to be more than 6% alcohol by taste... but 8.8% ABV is fitting for the style... it's just so well hidden...

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Feeling a little spicy I camped out with a bottle of Old Foghorn this evening, hoping for the wonderful barleywine that i had last year.

Sadly, I was mistaken. Its extremely sweet, excessively so. The hops are pronounced but the end long before the lingering brown sugar taste peters out.

The bottle is fresh though, so I'll be kind judging it. Give it some time, its is a 9.4% barleywine after all. A year in the cellar may make it a far more enjoyable brew.

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Photo of huricrane47
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Deep amber in color with a tan head.
Smell- Sweet- Banana and Clove Smell.
Taste- A medium bitter hops (similar to IPA), then flavor changes to brown sugar and cloves. Both flavors blend together and leave incredible aftertaste.
Mouthfeel- low water activity- full of flavor.
Drinkabiltiy- Something to Sip on and enjoy. Not for lager drinkers.

Initially, the first thing you taste is a medium bitter hop flavor, which is then followed by a malty brown sugar and clove ending. The hops and brown sugar/clove flavor lightens and blends together during the aftertaste. The beer has a slight warmth going down and there is a slight dryness that follows. You might want to try this if you like Belgian beer styles like Chimay blue. Overall Incredible beer.

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Photo of kegger22
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color of Old Foghorn is a dark, clear amber with a moderate, beige head that dissipated right away. While its not exactly an alcohol bomb, I did get that in the aroma, also citrus hop smell. The taste was not highly alcoholic, there was both malt sweet and hop citrus. Not bad, but kind of a barleywine lite, as the tastes were not strong. Mouth feel was medium bodied, carbonation adequate. Pretty good drinkability, two is the limit though with that ABV.

I'm a big fan of a big, strong barleywine flavor and this one was on the light side. That's OK, all beers don't have to be overpowering, just not what I was expecting.

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Photo of bheilman
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I can't believe I've waited this long to try this beer. One of the best moderate B-Wines I've ever had. Almost like an Alt in flavor, but a little sweeter and a better smell. Plus, this beer is much more drinkable than any other barleywine I've had. I would characterize it as a Barleywine.5, so not really intense, but with the flavor that you will value if you enjoy a barleywine. By far teh most drinkable barleywine I've had, but doesn't really give you the flavor complexity of a Behemoth, Old Ruination or a Green Flash.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this brew. This is the best looking barleywine I've ever seen, pouring a deep burgundy/red. The nose was wood, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, molasses, etc...and the flavor was exactly the same if not more complex. So well-balanced, which seems rare for the style. I wish I could find this in bottles somewhere. Possibly my favorite barleywine.

- Had a 2 yr old vintage on tap, and actually prefer the fresh version. Without the hop presence this beer isn't as complex as it once was.

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Photo of 100floods
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm pretty sure this is an 2008 vintage.

Pours a nice dark gold, almost copper hue. Absolutely no head, slight lacing. Kinda looks like apple juice. Slight alcohol aromas blended with something sweet.

This did loose a little bit of it's flavor through age. In it's prime this woulda been a sweet flavorful english BW, and there are still traits of that. This beer has mellowed out a lot. All the same flavors you'd expect from Old Foghorn, just subdued. The one nice thing that I'm really stoked on is the body, it's seems to have gotten a wee bit thicker. I've never aged a English BW, but this one has done some good. It's like a mellow apple syrup.

Anchor is not know for their beer's cellar life, and thats okay. This was a one time experiment, and defintely not a failure. Hold on to it for no more than a year, you're not missing much

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Photo of wnh
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a brilliant, vibrant ruby-tinted copper with a large, fluffy and frothy light tan head.

Rich and inviting nose, with dense aromas of butter toffee, brown sugar, vanilla and caramel (not unlike fresh oak), all topped off and just tempered by an earthy, dried-leaf hoppiness.

Butter toffee and red fruit entry, turning sweet in the middle with dark-ish sugar (turbinado, maybe?) and caramel, before finishing dry with an earthy hoppiness. Alcohol is present but not intrusive. The overall effect here is not unlike a rum-soaked fruitcake, somehow. Full bodied yet quite soft. Although the overall effect is dry, there is a slightly sticky character that facilitates long-lingering flavors. Warming alcohol contributes to the experience; it's prominent and appropriate but not distracting.

Michael Jackson, in his Beer Companion, states that this beer has 65 BUs, which is at once surprising--there is very little detectable bitterness--and sensible--though clearly a malt-forward beer, Old Foghorn is not unpalatably rich and sweet. Understandably one of the world's great barleywines.

Would be great as a nightcap.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a sweet barleywine! Buy a 6er, age a few, compare and contrast. Typical Anchor product, hard to classify compared to other similar styles.

Even when brand new, this one lacks a lot of the hops some of the other west coast pioneers have in their barleywines. With that said, its still probably hoppier than your average barleywine from anywhere else.

A sippin beer even moreso, even though its generally lighter in alcohol than most barleywines. Sweet malt caramel flavored body.

Appearance was a nice orange and red color, mild head, good lace, especially for a barleywine. Aroma was sweet and hoppy, just like I like my Bdubs.

A great candidate to drink fresh or lay down.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A strong cream cheese color head several fingers thick. medium strong carbonation with bubbling through 2/3 of the glass. Some lacing but not tons. A nice, red leather / garnet color.

S - Strong yeasty initial smell. Some musk tones, cured leather, freshly cooked rye bread, and dried mushrooms.

T - Initial tastes of thick nectar. Some fructose flavors, some alcohol fusils, plenty of pleasant ester-y fruit flavors, and spicy tones. Aftertastes were smooth and sweet with a bit of oak. Like a nice single malt scotch.

M - Silky smooth. Creamy. With a small alcohol bite, but not much for 8.8% ABV. Goes down well in sips or in gulps.

D - I first sampled this at a beer festival in Japan, it was clearly the winner in my heart next to all the domestic beers. But I wanted to come back and properly review this one as the 1st beer of the day and not the 10th. I'm even more impressed. Awesome, would be a good word. Tons of flavors co-existing in peace and harmony. Like an international food fair. This has just the right balance that one could enjoy this by itself or with a meal. The flavors are strong enough to be interesting but not so strong they'd overpower something. I'm really impressed by this beer.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.39/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in 12 oz. snifter.

A: Pours a dark ruby-red with a thing ring of head and a little lacing. Looks good.

S: Grain and hops mostly, along with some subtle fruit - pears. Nothing overly impressive here.

T: Grains, barley, apple, pear, and a bitter hops finish. Gets sweeter as it warms. The grain and sweet flavors are just a little out of balance IMO.

M: Medium body and appropriate amount of carbonation. The 8.8% is well hidden.

D: Not bad overall I would say, but the high abv combined with some slightly out of balance flavors makes this a one timer for me I think. Regardless, I would only drink one of these at a time. Perhaps a little age would improve this.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Whole Foods. This is my first barleywine ever.
I am also aging an Old Foghorn as well.

Appearance- reddish brown color, thin head

Smell- dark fruits, malt, sweet aroma

Taste- sweet, dark fruits, wonderful flavor, nice aftertaste

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied

Drinkability- very nice, will drink again and will try the aging one probably in a year or so

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Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber, fluffy off-white head.

S- Classic robust barleywine aroma. Spicy, fruity hops, pine, toffee, doughy, with an alcohol presense.

T- This was a let down for me after the great nose. It kind of fell flat. The hops almost disappeared. Malty caramel, banana, raisin fading to a warm alcohol feel.

M- Medium bodied with light, soft carbonation. Needs more body but it still works for the most part.

D- Well made beer,easy drinking, but I kind of lose my interest after one.

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Photo of UA8
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a semi dark reddish brown with a thin tan head.

S- Roasted caramel malts, burnt butter nuttiness, yeasty fruit basket, touch of sugary orange in the background.

T- Leads with a fermented caramel and fruit punch thing (I know it doesn't sound good but it work here), midpalate has a touch of coffee, finishes with yest notes crossed up with tangy malts.

M- Syrupy and light carbonation.

D- The more this airs out and warms up the better it gets. There are some funky notes on the palate that I really enjoy. Not the best barleywine I've ever had but definitely a respectable one that I'll be buying again.

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Photo of Lothore
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber color with a small fizzy head that fades quickly.

S- Lots of dark fruit, fig, brown sugar, hints of apricot.

T- Very fruity, apricot, prune, fig and brown sugar that moves into a very dry finish with a nice crisp, semi bitter finish.

M- Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This incredibly fruity and dry barleywine is very drinkable and not nearly as heavy as expected.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been sitting for a year.

A- Wonderful dark golden brown with a one inch head.

S- The smell is great and very noticeable from a distance. Dark fruits, molasses, woodyness, bubble gum, and a slight booze presence.

T- This has a decent taste, sweet, fruity, similar to a quad almost in flavors and tastes only less carbination.

M- There is a spicyness that stings a bit on the tongue. But has great feel in the mouth, with a nice long lasting aftertaste.

D- Very drinkable. It would be interesting to see how this would be fresh.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,981 ratings.
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